Shipping Autumn of 2021
Uncommon in landscapes and absolutely stunning in full bloom, Red Buckeye will take your breath away the first time you see it in flower. This small, shrubby tree decks itself out in vivacious red blossoms each spring and steals the show. The flowers’ appearance coincides perfectly with the return of the ruby-throated hummingbirds from Central America, and these avian acrobats waste no time in diving right in and enjoying the sweet nectar. Each year, you’ll look forward to relaxing on your deck or patio while you not only admire the ravishing Buckeye blossoms, but also smile at those perky birds, back for the season.
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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Red Buckeye is found in the wild from North Carolina to Florida and west to eastern Texas. In the forest, it stands out not only at bloom-time, but earlier as well, when the foliage emerges. Buckeyes are the first native trees to leaf out in spring, and they do so with panache. Big, hand-shaped leaves burst forth from fat, shiny buds. The young leaves often have purple, pink, or coppery tones and they catch the soft spring light in magical ways. The sizzling red flowers appear a few weeks later.
Buckeyes get their name from the notion that the smooth tan and brown seeds look like the eyes of a deer. The seeds are toxic and they were used in the past by Native Americans to catch fish. When crushed and thrown into the water, the seeds would release their poisons, stunning the fish for easy harvest.
How to Grow
Red Buckeye, preferring cool, semi-shady sites with deep, moist soil in the wild, appreciates similar conditions in the landscape. Full sun is acceptable as long as the soil doesn’t get too dry. Dry soil will hasten a common Buckeye disease called leaf scorch and lead to premature leaf-drop, though even under the best of circumstances, this can occur and is no cause for alarm. Because of the toxicity of the seeds (as well as of the leaves and twigs), Red Buckeye should not be planted where livestock will graze or pets will nibble.
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